+ All Creationism Essays:
- Free Papers
- The Black and White of Science and Religion
- Dualism: Concerns and Issues
- Science, Technology, and Morality as Perceived in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Should Intelligent Design be Taught in Public Schools?
- Separation of Church and State is Necessary for Freedom of Choice
- Argument Between Science and Religion
- comparative essays
- Evolution and Creation
- The Use of Narratives to Express the Religious Beliefs of People in Western Religions
- The Integration of Science and Religion
- Inherit the Wind (Scopes Trial)
- The Saltation of Malcolm X
- How to Write a Business Report
- The Removal of Prayer from Public Schools
- evolution v. creation
- Should Evolution be Taught in Schools?
- Beliefs Taken to the Extremes
- Religion is a Set of Beliefs
- Genesis, the Gospel, and Theistic Evolution
- Stop Literary Censorship
- religion and social change
- Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species
- Can Intelligent Design be Empirically Proven
- Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz
- The Positive Relationship Between Science and Religion
- Theme Analysis: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
- Creation and Evolution
- How Charles Darwin Changed the World Forever
- How Much Deviation from Religious Doctrine is Acceptable?
- Module Quizzes
- Creation vs Evolution
- Dating the Rocks of the Grand Canyon (Old Earth vs. Young Earth)
- Intelligent Design: A Bona Fide Theory
- Theories of How Life Began on Earth
- Billions of Years vs. Thousands of Years
- Purpose of Creation Myths
- Common Criticisms in Psychology Paper
- A Book Critique of The Advancement: Keeping the Faith in an Evolutionary Age
- Rosalind Krauss - Photographys Discursive Spaces
- Intelligent Design: Science or Faith
- Creationsim vs. Evolution
- Religion vs. Science
- Inherit the wind (Scopes trial)
- How Are Theories Formed?
- The Big Bang Theory, The Theory of Evolution, and the Bible
- Does Science Explain All?
- Global Warming is a Theory, Not a Fact
- Intelligent Design of the Universe
- Life Is But A Choice
- Atheism, the Hidden Prejudice
- Nazi Use of Darwinism
- The Fallacy in Teaching Macroevolution as Scientific Theory
- Does Religion belong in Public Schools?
- Creation Versus Evolution - Both Arguments Can be Right
- America Benefits Greatly from Bilingual Education
- The Theory of Evolution
- Religion's Place in Education
- Alfred Tennyson, Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell, and
- Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
- Compare and Contrast Chinese and Japanese Mythology
- The Origins of Life: Evolution vs Intelligent Design
- The Study of Human Race and Ethnicity
- The Scope's Monkey Trial: Trial of the 20th Century
- The Influence of Religion on Scientific Advancement
- Scienve V Religion
- Creation: Scientifically Proven?
- Creation Theories
- Conflicts Between Science and Religion
- Darwin's Ideas of Evolution of the Species and Nature Creation
- Evolution vs. Creation
- Different Views on Cloning
- Evolution vs Intelligent Design
- Contemplating God's Creation in William Blake's The Lamb and The Tyger
- Biography of Charles Darwin
- Eth125 Week 4 Quiz
- Atheism as a historical philosophy and its relevance in contemporary America
- Religion Has No Place in Public Schools
- Creation vs. Evolution in the Public Schools
- The Failings of Fundamentalism
- Homeschooling Is Inferior to Public Schooling
- Inherit The Wind
- Stem Cell Research: An Ethical Interpretation
- Eth/125 Week 4 Quiz 2
- Life After Death Analysis
Until Project Runway, I never really understood people who are intimidated by science. My officemates at the time were fascinated with the show and talked about it with great passion. They used words I didn’t know and cited famous people I’d never heard of. I felt queasy, confused, and self-conscious.
Laura Helmuth is the health, science, and environment editor at the Washington Post. From 2012–2016, she was Slate’s science and health editor. Follow her on Twitter.
What did I do about my uneasy ignorance? Did I watch the show, read smart articles about fashion, educate myself about its history and practice? Of course not. I rolled my eyes with disdain. And after a while I finally had my epiphany: Oh! So this is what people feel like when they say they don’t like science and don’t get it and don’t think it’s worth the bother.
This is all just to say that I am trying to sympathize, I really am, with Virginia Heffernan. Heffernan is a writer for Yahoo News, formerly of the New York Times and formerly-formerly a TV critic for Slate. Last week she published an essay in which she revealed that she is a creationist. I’m not exaggerating. The essay is titled “Why I’m a Creationist,” and she wrote: “Also, at heart, I am a creationist. There, I said it.”
Heffernan wasn’t raised in a creationist household. She wasn’t home-schooled to believe that Darwinists are condemned to eternal damnation. She came to her decision as an adult, on the basis of scriptural comparisons:
“I wanted to know the truth of how the world began, so I was handed the Big Bang. That wasn’t a metaphor, but it wasn’t fact either. It was something called a hypothesis. And it was only a sentence. I was amused and moved, but considerably less amused and moved by the character-free Big Bang story (“something exploded”) than by the twisted and picturesque misadventures of Eve and Adam and Cain and Abel and Abraham.”
Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was fine, as far as it went: “I still wasn’t sure why a book that never directly touches on human evolution, much less the idea of God, was seen as having unseated the story of creation.” (Darwin was deliberately vague in Origin about how evolution by natural selection shaped modern humans—he knew it would be a touchy subject—but he published The Descent of Man a few years later, which does “directly touch on human evolution.”)
She calls evolution merely “another hypothesis” and says “I have never found a more compelling story of our origins than the ones that involve God.”
At first I thought Heffernan was joking when she additionally described herself as a believer in angels, but she was not: “Those scientists no doubt see me as a dopey sheep who believes in angels and is carbon-ignorant. I have to say that they may be right.”
Heffernan is a talented writer who sometimes writes about technology, which is made by science and not by angels. This essay can’t be a good career move. As Hamilton Nolan tells Heffernan at Gawker: “you should probably expect that, from now on, when people read your musings on, say, the future of internet communications, they might stop, in a moment of gathering doubt, and recall that you are a science-phobic angel-believing climate change skeptic, and that therefore your dedication to facts is somewhat in question.”
She has written ignorant things about science in the past, though, including a New York Times Magazine piece about science blogs that recommended a notorious climate-change denier’s blog. She lumped it with Scientific American’s website, which must be one of the most embarrassing endorsements in that magazine’s 168-year history.
The only glimmer of reason in the new essay comes when she critiques evolutionary psychology analyses of sex roles, but she misses the point that the most sophisticated and vehement critiques of evolutionary psychology come from other scientists, particularly evolutionary biologists, who are trying to make their colleagues adhere to scientific standards—rather than to the literary or narrative standards that Heffernan finds so persuasive.
Evolution is a theory the way gravity is a theory. It’s not a story or an aesthetic choice or one side of a debate; it’s the way the world works. Everything we know about geology, paleontology, isotope chemistry, genetics, taxonomy, experimental biology, biomedicine, biochemistry, paleoanthropology, and yes, in some cases even psychology … all of it enriches our understanding of evolution. Whatever levels of analysis you care to use, from molecular to planetary, they all mutually reinforce the discovery that all living things evolve through a process of natural selection. Absolutely nothing in the 154 years since Origin was published has undermined the theory.
If Heffernan were claiming that the Earth is the center of the universe or that it’s turtles all the way down, I’d just shake my head in disbelief and move on. But creationism matters. It’s a powerful political and social force. Heffernan says she may be the only creationist in New York City, but that is unlikely given that only 44 percent of the U.S. population believes in evolution. Her Facebook feed is now full of seemingly educated people who are thanking her for the essay and saying they agree with her.
People, please. This is important. You may feel clever debating evolution and creationism in New York City, but stop by a school in Louisiana sometime. The Louisiana Science Education Act allows creationism to be taught there. In science class. Gov. Bobby Jindal, a biology major at Brown, endorses spending millions of dollars in state money to support the teaching of creationism. The National Center for Science Education keeps track of similar efforts in other states: Kansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, and more. If you endorse creationism, you’re giving comfort to people who brainwash children and prevent them from learning about the most powerful and fascinating discoveries people have ever made.
And science is fascinating. As Carl Zimmer pointed out in an epic Twitter war with Heffernan, dismissing the evidence for evolution betrays a profound lack of curiosity. Their 140-character bits of back-and-forth show that she really does think of creationism and evolution merely as competing narratives: “What I believe is stories—hodgepodge of magic & facts—like what you believe. What I do is: aim to be kind.” (She apparently thought people who tweeted about evidence for evolution were being mean. Zimmer has devoted his career to telling excellent stories about evolution—stories that are true. He’s entitled to be incredulous.) Heffernan is simply wrong. There is no hodgepodge. Creationism and evolution aren’t equivalent stories to be believed or not. Creationism is magic and evolution is facts.